Tatsuya Tanaka creates miniature scenes with everyday objects and tiny figurines he has collected over the years. In 2011, he began posting an artwork a day on what he calls the "Miniature Calendar". That means that by 2021, he had created 3,650 miniature scenes.
It all started when his wife gave him a set of miniature plastic cows designed for train sets. Tanaka says, "When I was young, I didn't have enough toys, so I played around with everyday things." He believes that we all have the feeling that "broccoli and parsley might sometimes look like a forest, or the tree leaves floating on the surface of the water might sometimes look like little boats." So he set the cows up with mahjong tiles and numbered blocks and took photos of them.
It takes an average of 2 hours to create each piece. Over the years, Tanaka has collected enough boxes of figurines and objects to cover every wall in his studio. He also creates figurines of himself with a 3D printer to place in some scenes.
When Tanaka posted his first simple cow scenes on Instagram, they were an immediate success. Someone suggested he post something every day, and the Miniature Calendar was born. Tanaka now has more than 3.5 million followers on Instagram, his main platform. Hundreds of thousands of admirers also follow him on Facebook and Twitter. He has published books of his works and had shows in major galleries. And it all began with tiny cows.